I hope this note finds you well.
Dear Friends, next weekend I will complete a goal that I have been working toward for a number of years.
As many of you know I really enjoy running. I first started running when I was a freshman in medical school back in 1969. A group of us met every morning at 5:00 AM and ran two miles, then studied for a couple of hours before going to class.
For the first few years I ran primarily as a stress-management tool; it really helped me unwind. By the late seventies I was in the process of establishing myself in the practice of medicine in Benton and had begun to run longer distances. On January the 1st of 1979, I got up early in the morning, put on my running shorts and shoes and ran from my house in Hidden Valley, on the north side of Benton, to my mother-in-law’s house on Fouche Dam Pike, east of the airport in Little Rock. It was my first time to run the marathon distance of 26.2 miles; I was hooked.
For a variety of reasons I didn’t start doing marathon races at that time; the primary reason was that I just didn’t race. I had no need to race; I was not and am not addicted to adrenalin. I just ran the streets and most of the time by myself. The running was almost a form of meditation.
In 1989 I got the itch to run a marathon race. For nine months I trained extra hard and the second week in December of that year I ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon. It was an exhilarating experience. However, I made the mistake that many new marathoners make; I ran out too fast in the first half of the race and then hit the wall at mile sixteen.
Despite my mistakes I thoroughly enjoyed the race and vowed to do it again; I have run the Dallas Marathon twenty-four out of the last twenty-seven years. During the 1990’s Annette and I ran the Pike’s Peak Marathon each summer. I have qualified for and run the Boston Marathon five times. On a number of occasions she and I have paired vacations in Europe with a marathon.
Runners are always talking about setting a new PR (personal record). Speed was never my forte. I used to joke that I ran so slow that I could run with one foot and walk with the other. In the last few years I have slowed down even more and I no longer try to compete, even with myself.
Now, here I am twenty-seven years later and I’m still at it. Next weekend, Annette and I are going to Huntington, West Virginia to complete the Marshall University Marathon. This will be my 141 marathon and most important for me it will be a goal I have been working on for the last ten years; with this marathon I will have completed a marathon in all fifty states.
Now my next challenge will be: what to do next?
Have a nice journey.